The 1960S Essay, Research Paper
I picked this historical period of time because many crazy and wild things happened. This decade contained many political social musical and business aspects.
The hippies were a main part of the social aspect of this decade. If you were a freethinking individual who did many mind-altering drugs then you might have been considered a Hippie. Hippies also made up the biggest social protest of this decade. They rejected traditional society The Hippies movement was closely tied to the anti-war movement. Hippies wanted to express their individuality and they did so by refusing the use of modern machines, as they preferred to do various things by hand. They made things such as necklaces, bracelets, hats, socks, and many other articles of clothing. With Hippies being freethinking, they thought their parents generation was self centered, and didn’t care about the welfare of the many coming generations. With Hippies being closely related with drugs and alcohol. Many of them smoked marijuana. And many of them took psychedelic drugs, which expanded the mind. These types of dugs helped create a special type of music called “Acid Rock”. I can’t begin to even to tell you how many aspects of life drugs change. Things are totally different than what they really seem, things like this are difficult to explain unless you experience them first hand! Drugs also influenced art and fashion. The Hippies movement was also associated with “Light” shows, now days called a “Rave”. In Raves, colorful lights and music are common. As all the drug use increased things intensified, as it brought on the “Summer of Love”, the Hippie movement peaked in 1967. The summer of love was a unique experience, but faded quickly by the end of the decade. Some drugs had after effects, sometimes unknown to the user. These after effects include: Paranoia, flashbacks, and some lost touch with reality for the remainder of their lives:) The Hippies movement has since faded out, but in my own opinion is on a comeback.
The fashion business was expanded as well as the minds of people. Men’s fashion was being influenced by the British invasion; men had a new hairstyle, as their hair grew longer. And as the men’s hair got longer the women’s skirts got shorter, they rose a whole six inches above the knee. These fashions were mostly due to the individuality of the young population. The British band the Beatles who had long hair influenced most of these hair styles on young men.
The political aspect of the 60’s was very wild. The Americans were involved in the Vietnam War as many young men were being forced into the war through the draft. Many of these young men burned their draft slips and some fled to Canada. Those who fled to were unable to return to the U.S. After the assassination of John F. Kennedy, President Lyndon Johnson assumed power quickly. In 1965 President Johnson shifted the U.S. role in Vietnam from an advisory role to a combat one. This was widely accepted, but questioned by some. In 1966 these doubts became more widespread to civil rights leaders and even the general public. Despite all the pressure, the Americans still lacked a solution to the conflict at hand. In 1964, President Johnson urged for a way out. As we failed to set up peace talks the Americans got slaughtered more and more, Almost 31,000 Americans were killed. From the beginning the Russians wanted the United States to cease bombing of North Vietnam because we were at the aide of South Vietnam only then they began to talk. Finally on May 13th, 1968 the Paris Peace Conference opened!
President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963 by the accused sniper Lee Harvey Oswald. Jack Ruby killed Oswald. On March 14, 1964 Ruby was then sentenced to death for the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald. His conviction was reversed on Oct. 4, 1966. Ruby died on Jan. 3, 1967 before his second trial.
During this time the American government was also involved in the space race against the Russians as the Americans were hyped about the fast changing world around them. Russian Maj. Yuri Gagarin was the first man to orbit the Earth. On May 5, 1961 Alan B. Shepard made a sub orbital flight in the Freedom 7and became the first American in space. On May 15-16, 1963 L. Gordon Cooper Jr. performed the last Mercury mission performing 22 orbits around the Earth to see what the effects of one day in space would be. President Kennedy urged for a manned expedition to the moon by the end of the decade. This started the Apollo missions. There were seven original Apollo flights. Tragedy struck the Apollo I launch pad on January 27, 1967 when three men lost their lives in a preflight test. Lt. Col. Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Lt. Col. Edward H. White, and Lt, Cdr. Roger Chafee Died when a fire swept through the Command module. This program’s first success was sending John Glenn into orbit around the earth on Feb. 20, 1962. Then in July of 1969, The Apollo 11 successfully made it to the moon allowing Neil Armstrong to be the first man on the moon.
Russian relations worsened when U.S spy planes discovered Missiles in Cuba. The Soviets had set up missile sites in Cuba that were able to strike targets in U.S. with nuclear warheads. As the political climate grew more tense between the two super powers SAC moved to DEFCON III and had two B52s on airborne alert. SAC later moved to DEFCON II and maintained the B52s on alert along with other bombers from other SAC wings were ready to strike targets within the Soviet Union. This crisis almost started World War III.
In 1963 the civil rights movement gained more momentum when a televised address made by President Kennedy to the nation that discrimination was no longer to be accepted. He proposed a legislation prohibiting racial discrimination in most public facilities. By 1964 a Civil Rights bill that Kennedy submitted had passed, by congress. The civil rights movement was making extreme progress. Then in 1965 blacks had started to engage in as much violence as the whites. A riot took place in Los Angeles in August of 1965. This riot was started by the arrest of a black man for a speeding violation. For six days young blacks robbed stores, set fires, and had gun battles with police, which left 43 dead. On August 28, 1963 Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I had a dream” speech at a civil rights rally in Washington D.C. the Rally was held by 200,000 blacks and whites. This speech showed many civil rights activists the idea that racial equality would soon become a reality. On February 1, 1965 Martin Luther King was arrested along with 2600 other blacks in Selma, Alabama during a three-day demonstrations against voter registration rules.
Since the 1960’s were a great time for the experimentation of drugs it was also a time for experimenting with music. Lyrics were made from the mind and heart; some were originated from the use of drugs or about experiences with the drugs they were using. Many of the greats included Jimmy Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison of the “Doors”, many followed in the steps of the best to make the crowd go crazy. The biggest music trend being Rock- n-Roll for that time inspired Janis Joplin’s screechy voice to make her dream. She screamed to make the audience love what she did. Janis Joplin was a drug abuser and an alcoholic. As she continued to do drugs the coarseness of her voice began to show. Eventually the same old everyday drugs killed her. The music scene was made by the creation of Woodstock. Drugs heightened this three-day bash of course. This was the biggest concert event of the history of music. Woodstock brought many races and creeds together in the harmony of music. The concert sometimes had bands that played for three days straight. As the ticket prices were very frugal, people flocked to have fun and for something that wasn’t expected to be a big thing Woodstock became known as one of the biggest musical events. Jazz tended to bring the African crowd, but soon white joined black bands. Jimmy Hendrix being black had a white band. He made guitar solo’s that would make an earthquake with pounding decibels that could make you dance on the first strum of his beautiful Fender guitar.
The one thing in the sixties that I particularly liked the most was the cars. Some of the best cars were made in this century. Cars like the Pontiac GTO, Chevy Camaro and Chevelle, the Ford mustang and other great muscle cars. Although cars most of these cars sucked down gas like a dry sponge sucks up water they were still some of the greatest cars ever made. They were the best of American engineering. Since these cars had stopped being produced the American car engineering industry went downhill.
Overall the sixties were a psychedelic trip of the mind for some and a hardship for others. Some lived free and some lived in war, but we made it through them some are still here to tell the stories.